Saturday, February 12, 2005

Christian Virtue - FAITH

The word `faith" in Greek pistis means a commitment to, or trust in someone. In short, F.A.I.T.H. stands for "Forsaken All I Trust Him." The Hebrews writer defined faith as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The examples of faith in the Old Testaments tell us that there were men and women who took God at His word and who' allowed God to direct their lives accordingly. Things yet future or "things hoped for" as far as experience went were to them as good as certain and completed; and things outwardly unseen or "things not seen" were visible to their inward eyes. It is in this term that faith is to be emulated.

Throughout the Bible we see faith in God is made to rest on who God is and what He has revealed and promised. In the New Testament, faith in God is defined more specifically as trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, that is, the acknowledgment of Jesus as the Messiah who was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the whole world; the incarnated Son of God who shall come again. This forms the basis of our faith which the Bible occasionally refers to as "the faith" denoting the body of truths believed (Jude 3, Galatians 1:23;1 Timothy 4:1, 6).

Faith is a divine gift. Therefore, we as sinners, need only to stretch our empty hands to receive this fi-ee gift of God. However, Arminianism do not take this position. Instead they believe that man has that faith already and can meet God halfway by self-effort for their salvation. We do not take the Arminian's position as we see that Self, Sin and Satan have so blinded fallen men (Ephesians 4:18; 11 Corinthians 4:4) that they cannot discern nor comprehend the realities written in the Bible. To the natural man, the spiritual things are not worth anything. Unless the Holy Spirit enlightens the sinner, he is left groping in darkness. God is thus the Author of all saving faith (Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 1:29).

Throughout the Bible, we see people of God lived by faith. They cleaved to Him, making Hirn their shield and fortress, taking refuge in Him. One such example is Abraham who responded to the Word of God. In Genesis 12:1, God said to Abraham, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land 1 will show you." So he obeyed, as the Lord had spoken. Faith is always a response to God's Word. Faith is not a leap into the dark. It is not presumptuous, that is, believing without a reason. Nor is it ever against reason, though at times, it is above reason.

Faith requires two things from Abraham -- separation and obedience. Because He was willing to forsake all and trust God for his future, He was endowed with divine promises in Genesis 12:2-3 to become a great nation, a great name and a great blessing to all nations.

Likewise, you and I are called to a life of faith which requires two things from us - separation and obedience. First, the separation is to be from unclean things, from leaning on our own understanding, from bad habits, from sexual immorality, and from seeking first our own kingdom. Second, we are required to obey God's word and accept His will and guidance in every detail of our lives. When we do all these, we will fund God's gracious promises, His wonderful presence and intimate fellowship ever so true and real. Hebrews 11:33-34 gives us a glimpse of what faith has done for God's people: "who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quench the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in baffle and routed foreign armies."

Today, we live in difficult tunes when man's faith in God has ebbed so low. Marry have become creatures of sight with this attitude: Seeing is Believing. But the man of faith act otherwise: Believing without seeing. We have been given the gift of faith, so let us exercise it by hearing and obeying the Word of God. The more we obey, the more faith grows (Romans 10:17).

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